Federal Judge Blocks California's Concealed Carry Restrictions Banning Firearms In Most Public Places

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Dec 23, 2023 - 03:30 AM

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A controversial California law that would ban licensed gun holders from carrying their firearms in multiple locations across the state was temporarily blocked by a federal judge on Dec. 20, meaning the legislation will not go into full effect as planned next year.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom at a press conference in Sacramento on Feb. 1, 2023, announcing a new law to establish stricter standards for concealed carry weapon permit holders to carry a firearm in public. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Senate Bill 2 was part of a string of new gun restrictions introduced in California this year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen in June of 2022 that found a New York law requiring a license to carry a concealed weapon in public was unconstitutional and that carrying a pistol in public was a constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

Under California's legislation, private citizens who hold concealed carry weapons permits would be prohibited from carrying concealed guns in 26 locations, including public parks and playgrounds, churches, banks, medical facilities, and any other privately owned commercial establishments that are open to the public.

The ban would apply regardless of whether the person has a permit to carry a concealed weapon or not, although the measure includes exceptions for privately owned businesses that "clearly and conspicuously" put up signs at the entrance of the building or on the premises indicating that license holders are permitted to carry firearms on the property.

Senate Bill 2 was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September and was set to take effect on Jan. 1, despite opposition from gun rights advocates and groups, including the California Rifle and Pistol Association, who filed a lawsuit against California state, county, and local law enforcement agencies and officials earlier this month.

In their lawsuit, the groups argued the measure violates both the U.S. Constitution and state law.

'Repugnant to the 2nd Amendment'

In his decision to block the law Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney sided with the plaintiffs, writing that the law went too far and would "unconstitutionally deprive" concealed carry permit holders "of their constitutional right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense."

Gun instructor Mike Stilwell demonstrates a revolver as he teaches a packed class to obtain the Utah concealed gun carry permit, at Range Master of Utah, on Jan. 9, 2016 in Springville, Utah. (George Frey/Getty Images)

Furthermore, the California law "is sweeping, repugnant to the Second Amendment, and openly defiant of the Supreme Court," Judge Carney, an appointee of President George W. Bush, wrote.

"For many years, the right to bear arms, and so necessarily the right to self-defense, was relegated to second-class status," the judge wrote. "But the United States Supreme Court made clear in its landmark decisions District of Columbia v. Heller, McDonald v. City of Chicago, and New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Incorporated v. Bruen that relegation could no longer be permitted—individuals must be able to effectuate their right to self-defense by, if they so choose, responsibly bearing arms."

"SB2 turns nearly every public place in California into a ‘sensitive place,’ effectively abolishing the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding and exceptionally qualified citizens to be armed and to defend themselves in public," he added.

The judge further stated the preliminary injunction was warranted because plaintiffs suing the state would suffer "irreparable harm" without it.

He also noted the measure did not make complete sense, given that it focused predominantly on law-abiding gun owners.

"Although the government may have some valid safety concerns, legislation regulating [concealed carry] permitholders—the most responsible of law-abiding citizens seeking to exercise their Second Amendment rights—seems an odd and misguided place to focus to address those safety concerns," Judge Carney wrote.

Gun owners with concealed carry weapons permits "have been through a vigorous vetting and training process following their application to carry a concealed handgun," he wrote. "The challenged SB2 provisions unconstitutionally deprive this group of their constitutional right to carry a handgun in public for self-defense."

Newsom Condemns Ruling

In a statement to multiple media outlets on Wednesday, Mr. Newsom said Judge Carney's ruling "outrageously calls California’s data-backed gun safety efforts 'repugnant.'"

"What is repugnant is this ruling, which greenlights the proliferation of guns in our hospitals, libraries, and children’s playgrounds — spaces, which should be safe for all," he said.

The Democrat added that he "will keep fighting" for gun restrictions because "the lives of our kids depend on it."

Elsewhere, Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, praised Judge Carney’s ruling on Wednesday.

"California progressive politicians refuse to accept the Supreme Court’s mandate from the Bruen case and are trying every creative ploy they can imagine to get around it," he said. "The Court saw through the State’s gambit."

Mr. Michel added that Senate Bill 2 would have meant gun permit holders "wouldn’t be able to drive across town without passing through a prohibited area and breaking the law" and that the latest decision makes Californians safer.